Meet Holly Geipel, our Commercial Manager for Horticulture. She recently attended the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as part of an exhibit celebrating the RHS 200th Anniversary of Education and Training.

Showcasing some very talented people (including Holly!) who work in the Horticulture industry, it highlights an ever-growing diverse, interesting and exciting industry to be part of.

Holly comments: “It was quite surreal. I stood in front of a somewhat large photo of myself! It was part of an exhibit featuring profiles of young people working in the industry. There was such a buzz around the exhibit, and it was great to see genuine interest from the public in the careers of the individuals.”

She was photographed alongside Freddie Strickland who was the RHS Young Designer of the Year in 2021. Holly explains “Freddie is another member of the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA) who works hard with a similar aim in mind; to raise the profile of Horticulture as a career option for young people.”

As Holly says, there’s still a long way to go to get Horticulture on the careers radar of many young people, but the YPHA is working hard to make this happen.

At Vitacress, we want people to feel they can develop their careers with us. We want to provide a supportive environment where they can flourish. Nurturing future talent is an important part of this, whether embarking on a first job or a new career path like our apprentice, Matt Edghill.

Matt has been working for Vitacress Herbs for four years and following the successful completion of his apprenticeship, he is the first ever engineering apprentice to move into a permanent role. As a newly qualified engineer ready to kick-off his career with us.

Below, Matt tells us a little about his experiences at Vitacress.

What made you want to work at Vitacress?

There is a large variety of equipment to work on, which presents the opportunity to develop a broad knowledge of both mechanical and electrical engineering.

Vitacress is a really welcoming work environment and my team is amazing. My manager, Steve, was very enthusiastic about continuing my education past level three, following the apprenticeship, and provided me with excellent progression opportunities.

How did you hear about the apprenticeship?

I was working as a carpenter/builder but was seeking an engineering apprenticeship and was recommended to Vitacress through my training provider, PETA.

Tell us a bit about the last four years…

My first six months were spent off site at a training facility where I learned the basics of engineering – this included machining, hand fitting and mechanical & electrical maintenance.

Following that, I attended college one day a week whilst working on my Level 3 BTEC in electrical engineering. Initially, whilst at work, I spent my time shadowing the other engineers, learning their process for fault diagnosis, job planning etc. and developing my practical knowledge and skills.

How has that changed over the years? What have you learnt along the way?

Over time, I was given more autonomy and responsibility, taking the lead on jobs and tasks to complete by myself. Starting with small jobs, such as installing light fittings or repairing minor breakdowns, this developed to much larger scale projects, such as upgrading the controls and safety features on machinery, including planning, scheduling, compiling a bill of materials, etc.

This progression allowed me to develop my knowledge and skills, not only in terms of engineering but also project management.

What do you think about the working environment and the people – have they been supportive?

The people on site are brilliant; very friendly, helpful and we always have a laugh. This cultivates a welcoming and relaxed work environment. The engineering team has always gone above and beyond to support me and the other apprentices, providing us with any help we require.

How do you think it has helped you in your career?

Working on such a broad range of equipment has given me a strong foundation and understanding of both mechanical and electrical engineering across a diverse range of applications. Additionally, I am now attending college working towards my Level 4 HNC in electrical engineering and am hoping to progress onto the Level 5, which will broaden my prospects in the future.

Share a stand out moment with us…

When I built my first control panel, I realised just how far my understanding of circuits had developed. Other stand-outs are getting absolutely filthy by cleaning filters on my first day and one of the engineer’s trousers falling down in the middle of the greenhouse!

For more information on our apprenticeships, get in contact.